BY BLESSING SILVER
Bella slowly pulled herself from Raymond’s hold and took a step back as Maurice walked forward to them.
“Bella,” he called again and this time his voice was too calm and hitched. Raymond held Bella’s arm, as if assuring her that he was ready to protect her no matter what, she slipped her arm and gave him an *I’m okay* smile. Maurice moved to her and reached her, he looked into her face and saw the tears glistening in her eyes and Bella trying fruitlessly to hold it back, earlier when he had seen her kiss Raymond, he had felt his heart breaking, he saw the hope he had thought he had slowly seeping out of him and his breath hitched for a moment. His expression wore anger.. At first he wasn’t sure it was her, he never even thought he’d come across her even though he had driven out because of her. He had heard Raymond call her, utter some words and then she kissed him.. It was like a bombshell struck his inner self.
Bella blinked, fighting back the tears that threatened to fall, seeing Maurice right before her took memories into her head and she felt her heart thumping loudly, she had hoped he didn’t hear it. Seeing him now Bella had realized how much she had missed him, even more than she had thought, she felt the urge to run to him and hug him until she was sure he had come for her, to feel his skin on hers and to look into his eyes and be assured it was really him. That was how Maurice had always made her feel, when she had kissed Raymond she hadn’t felt any of it, she had thought she could be able to find something that was closer to affection and passion for him, something like what she always feels for Maurice, but she didn’t. And here, Maurice sight alone was making her heart thump this loud, had drawn butterflies to the pit of her stomach and had given her urges to do so many passionate things to him. Bella blinked as Maurice took another step to her, she noticed how he was pushing himself with too much dexterity, like he couldn’t carry himself any longer. She watched him trying to walk again but he went backwards, amidst tears her brows furrowed.
Raymond moved close to her, trying to protect her from whatever Maurice was trying to do. Maurice gaze slowly moved to him and his upper teeth mashed the lower one in anger, his eyes darkened and his fist tightened.. There were many things he wished he could do to him right now but he just couldn’t push himself to do it, suddenly he felt too big.. He knew it was the alcohol he had taken earlier that was having its effect and he hated it, he had always gone with the belief that alcohol never solved issues, it was never an answer but he couldn’t resist it, he had felt his throat itching like crazy, that kind of itch that needed a metallic and deep burning to stop it. He felt himself being drawn to the pub and he couldn’t resist another glass after the taking the first, it wasn’t tasty nor inviting but the burns ached him and he liked how it felt. He had left the party that was held for him to drown himself in alcohol. Joliet words had left him with too many thoughts and questions that he couldn’t admit the answer to even though they were screaming inside him. okay maybe he had been really unfair and stupid to Bella but he still couldn’t help himself, she was right he couldn’t take time on these stuffs, especially when he isn’t sure of his feelings anymore.. He just needed somewhere away from the crowded company, away from memories of Bella, he needed to think, a time alone without anyone attention. He had left the pub after that and had walked in the streets, with stares accompanying him. He couldn’t believe that just few cups of brandy had triggered him this way, he couldn’t even walk properly and he noticed he had hiccups too.
He walked up to a pole and threw up on the floor “I’m never taking this stuff again”. He vowed after he threw up, supporting himself with the pole he continued walking.. Bella made him this way, how couldn’t be have noticed he was in love with her until now, that he had began developing feelings for her.. It had been few days since Diane left him and he had already fallen for someone else.. He couldn’t believe himself.
And now that he had seen her unaware, he cursed himself for being messy, drowsy and sluggish… Would she still look at him the way she used to after seeing him so wasted.
“Bel– he tried to call her name again buthe hiccupped, then blinked drowsily.
“Maurice are you okay?” He heard her voice but it sounded more like a car horning loudly, he covered his ear and breathed out.. He felt his vision failing and everything turning blur, he tried to blink it out but it didn’t work and slowly he felt his body dragging him down, he was halfway through the ground when a hand caught his and stopped him for a moment.. He tried to cling onto it but his weight pulled him down and he ended up falling together with the person.
Bella breathed out loud as she tried to catch her breath from the fall, she looked at Maurice and saw his eyes closed, she quickly checked his pulse and sighed when she felt it. She swallowed and turned to Raymond who was squatted beside her.
“I need to take him in,” she said, sniffing and wiping her tears that had fallen without her notice.
“I’ll do it” he said. “He’ll be fine,” he assured her when he noticed her tears.
“I know,” she said with a small smile “It’s just that I’ve never seen him drunk and so.. Wasted”
“There’s always a first time” he said and she nodded and sniffed again.
“Here, hold this” he gave her Maurice fallen tie and lifted him up.
Maurice woke up to the sun seeping in from the window by his side, cussing, he blinked rapidly and adjusted to the sharp rays, gripping the headboard for support, he tried to sit up and winced when he felt a sharp pain on his forehead, he held onto it with a palm and inhaled deeply. He let go and sat up, a hiss passing through his teeth, he surveyed the unfamiliarity that surrounded him.. His brows curved as he tried to remember how he got here. “fvck!” He cussed when the sharp pain erupted. Wtf happened last night and where’s he? Maurice tilt his head, the sight of the room and the smell felt feminine and familiar and he tried racking his brain again for last night’s information but the pain responded and he held his forehead, rubbing it soothingly. The door creaked and gently got opened, he watched as a female figure walked in.. Wait, it was Bella. His hand slowly slipped from his head and everything that happened last night flocked into his head. Getting wasted, meeting Bella and.. Gosh, the kiss! He felt his breath getting ragged at that thought.
Bella froze for a moment as Maurice eyes searched her, she hadn’t expected to meet him awake but still she’s happy he’s alive. Lastnight had been terror and one of her toughest nights, she could’nt sleep a wink, her whole body and mind were filled with worries for Maurice, even though Patty assured her times without number that he’s just asleep and would be up soon, Bella couldn’t hold onto that alone. She needed proof and it led her to visiting the room she had kept Maurice every single minute, she became more worried when he didn’t wake up nor shake when she touched him. She felt his breath but she needed to see him awake and her weariness took sleep from her eyes. And now that he’s awake Bella mind got peace and her sigh was that of relief but she couldn’t let Maurice know about how worried she was, she couldn’t let him know about how she felt, couldn’t let him know how his presence triggered some sort of happiness in her. she needs to act it cool.
Bella walked to his bed and sat on the stool. “You’re awake, I thought you wouldn’t be up anytime soon” she said, trying to start a normal conversation. “I got you coffee” she stretched the saucer to him, he didn’t take it from her and when she looked at him, she saw his gaze fully on her face, a sort of expression laid on them. Bella looked away and took the coffee cup from the saucer, she took his hands and wrapped the hot coffee in his palm. “When you’re done, you come down for lunch. I made some soup for your headache” she told him and stood, she started heading to the Door. “Bella” his words stopped her and she inhaled at the feeling his voice brought up from her. She slowly turned to him, her face void of any emotions.
“Yes” she answered simply.
“I-I’m sorry,” he said and she gulped “I shouldn’t have done that to you, I mean putting Diane away and giving you hopes. I didn’t mean to hurt you Bel I swear, I just wanted to tell you at the right time. I’m really sorry”
Bella blinked back tears and turned before they could fall out. “I’ll see you at lunch Maurice” she said and walked out. Maurice sighed and ran a hand through his hair, he cursed painfully and ran the duvet over him, he held his head when the pain returned and stared at the coffee.. He lifted it to his lip and took a long sip.
What was he expecting, that she’d hug him and tell him everything was fine or that nothing had changed in her feelings for him.. He had hurt her and he knew she needed time to heal, he was ready to give her that if she’d assure him that she still love him, that nothing was going on between her and Raymond and that she’d come back to him. But now his hopes had shattered right in front of him.. He had tried to tell her about Diane but something always hinders it.. Forgiveness alone wasn’t what he needed, he needs her back in his life and now in his heart.
He encircled his palm around the cup and sighed out loud. His life will be a mess if Bella rejects him.
Maurice went down for lunch after checking the messages on his phone, he replied to Jolie’s own and assured her that he was alright and with Bella. Maurice spooned his soup slowly to his mouth and kept staring at Bella, he had been introduced to Patty who was having lunch with them and he couldn’t be more glad when he was informed that Bella had been staying at her place all those while, he just couldn’t keep his curiosity In check and now that it had been partly satisfied, he was more settled. He just had to know if Bella and Raymond had a thing going on.
He watched as Bella ate her meal with delight, he watched her lips move and her cheeks puff. He felt a small nudge at his knee and he turned to see Patty signalling to him to eat up and stop staring. He gave her a small smile and started spooning his food slowly again and in no time his gaze was back on Bella. Patty noticed it again and let him be this time, she smiled as she watch him smile while looking at Bella.. The grudge she once held against him vanished, Even though he had hurt Bella pretty much in the past and had made her moody and sad and had also made Patty to hate him even without knowing him, she couldn’t help but realize how sincere Maurice is now, she could see the love sparks in his eyes when he looked back at Bel and the hopelessness and pain they bare.. Patty felt pity for him and somehow wished Bella would accept him, earlier she had planned on telling Maurice a piece of her mind which was hurting, slap him across his face for treating a woman that way and kicking him hard but seeing his looks right now Patty had no heart to do any of those things to him. The dude is in love. And if Bella decides to reject him then she was ready to go with any of her decision, as long as it is what she think is right for her.
Bella took the last lasagna from her plate and in a moment she was done with lunch, she stood up and packed her plate hastily and hurried into where he assumed was the kitchen. He sighed and looked down, he didn’t need a soothsayer to tell him Bella was avoiding him, or maybe his presence was making her sick.
He looked at patty when she hit his arm gently with hers and nudged her head forward, he looked questioningly at her and she repeated the action, he understood her gesture and packed up his plate which was almost full with the food he had barely touched, he stood up and followed Bella to the kitchen.
He sight her standing close to the drainboard, drying the washed plates, he moved to her and dropped his plates gently in the sink. Startled, Bella looked up at him and regretted it after, he noticed the tears stored in her eyes and glistened when they met his. He slowly pulled his gaze from her and wore the wash gloves, he wiped the food in his plate into the trash bin and rinsed it out and then again before leaving them on the drainboard.. Bella sniffed, left her plates on the shelf and started walking out, Maurice pulled to her front.. He quickly took off the gloves and set it aside, Bella’s gaze was down, he knew she was trying to prevent him from seeing her tears-filled eyes. “Please l-let me go” she said softly.
“I can’t look at you Maurice, I just can’t” she cut him off, a tear clouding her voice.
“I’m sorry Bella.. I shouldn’t have hidden Diane from you, I really didn’t mean to hurt you. I planned to tell you earlier but.. I was scared it’d come to this, I was scared of hurting you and… I was scared of losing you” he said and Bella’s gaze shot up to him.
“Scared of losing me?” She repeated in a question and he felt hurt seeing the tears in her eyes and knowing that he had brought them.
“Yes. Since you left I haven’t been the same, I couldn’t eat, sleep properly and work the way I use to. I couldn’t do anything right Bel, you took that part from me when you left” he said and gently took her hand. “I know I did something unforgivable. You can call it greed; I wanted you and Diane at the same time. I couldn’t find the perfect time to explain it to you or maybe I just couldn’t but I’m truly sorry”
Bella slipped her hand from his and wiped her tears “I believe you,” Bella said and sniffed “But I can’t come back Maurice, no matter what you say it doesn’t change the fact that Diane is the one you want and that you can’t love me too. I was too stupid to have fallen for you in the first place. I saw the signs but I just couldn’t accept it, I kept on hoping everyday that you would love me too, that you’ll for once see me as someone you can love, that you’d tell me you love me too. I didn’t see my heart on the verge of getting this hurt because of my one sided love. No matter how sorry you are Maurice, it doesn’t change what you feel for Diane.
These days I’ve tried to be with someone else, I’ve tried to love Raymond too and forget you but I couldn’t, the more I tried to forget you the more I thought of you and the more I tried to hate you for what you did, many reasons to keep loving you blocked that”
“I can’t go back Maurice, I’ve forgiven you and I’ve accepted that we can’t be together the way I want us to. That’s why I can’t go with you, I have a life too and even though it’s hard, I have to love someone else to forget you” she said, wiped her tears again and walked past Maurice before she could burst out and shame herself.
Maurice grabbed her wrist before she could walk out and she tried her best not to look at him, she sobbed softly and hated herself for being so fragile and weak when it comes to Maurice.
“I have something to tell you too,” he said and Bella sniffed. “I love you,” her breath hitched at those words, she was sure she heard it wrongly, are both her heart and ear failing her at the same time. “I love you Bella” he said and she stilled for a moment.. She held her grip, sniffed,grip her wrist from his hold and ran out of the kitchen.
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